As hinted earlier in this column (Nov. 16), there is something strange about the repatriation of Union defence production secretary Raj Kumar to his parent state of Gujarat. The general view is that Mr Kumar is most likely to replace Pankaj Kumar as the state’s new chief secretary when the latter retires in May 2022, and until then the babu can ‘acclimatise” to the state after having been away since 2015. But oddly, even 10 days after the announcement, there is no sign that the Centre is letting him go or the state is showing any urgency in getting him back.
Some now wonder whether the repatriation order was issued in haste, and now both the Centre and the state government have developed cold feet. Apparently, Mr Kumar finds favour with both governments, and the move to Gujarat was probably planned to get him in place to steer the state through the crucial months leading up to the Lok Sabha elections in May 2024. What may have stopped the authorities from making him chief secretary of Gujarat straightaway is that three senior 1986 batch babus would need to be reassigned to desirable slots since Mr Kumar would supersede them. Likely then that the Gujarat government will sort out this issue first before giving Mr Kumar the green light. If that is so, there was no need for the announcement now.
Cadre choice is not a right
The Supreme Court has ruled that successful UPSC aspirants do not have the right to be allocated the cadre of their choice. The court order came on the appeal of the Centre against a verdict of the Kerala high court, which directed the Centre to grant home cadre to A. Shainamol, a woman IAS officer, who was posted in Himachal Pradesh.
The apex court has further stated that the procedure for cadre allocation for the IAS is a “mechanical process and admits to no exception” except in terms of the recruitment rules.
Ms Shainamol had cleared the UPSC civil services exam in 2006 and despite belonging to the Muslim OBC category, she was selected in the general category and allocated Himachal cadre in 2007. The Supreme Court has now clarified that since Ms Shainamol did not take benefit of the quota and entered as general category she was not entitled to OBC reserved seat in her state. Consultation with the Kerala government was not required in this instance.
The ruling obviously has implications for IAS aspirants who hail from SC/ST or Other Backward Classes and do not take benefit of quota and get selected in the general category. These individuals cannot take recourse of reservation after their selection and cadre allocation.
MP to ditch ‘dual control’ police system
Madhya Pradesh will join states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan, among others, in replacing the “dual control” system with the police commissionerate system. Though chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hasn’t a specific date for implementing the new system, director general of police V.K. Johri has indicated that the government is likely to effect it from April 2022.
Though the new system was first suggested several years ago, the move gained momentum after Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent interaction with IPS probationers praised it saying that 16 states had adopted it and others should do so too. Under the current system, the police are required to take permission from district magistrates before taking any action. The new system will confer some magisterial powers to police commissioners, which will help the police to curb crime more effectively and also make it more accountable to the people.
The reason this proposal was hanging fire for so long, sources say, is due to the stiff resistance from the powerful IAS lobby, which is reluctant to hand over more power to the police department. They managed to scuttle the earlier moves, but this time the commissionerate system has got the green light from the PMO itself, leaving the IAS lobby with no choice....